Cognitive Coach

Connecticut assistant principal Kim Roy trusts teachers to take risks.

Topics: Principal Leadership

A seasoned teacher and coach in her hometown of Milford, Connecticut, Kim Roy joined Winsted Schools in 2017 to take on an AP position. At first, she split her time between two schools, working with students from pre-K through sixth grade, and she now works in the 3–6 Pearson School exclusively.

A cognitive coach who believes in collaboration, Roy allows teachers to draw their own conclusions when giving instructional feedback and is always ready to offer support. Where student discipline is concerned, she believes that fairness and uniformity establish expectations and build trust.

What led you to move from teaching into administration?

I felt I could have a greater impact on my school community. I enjoyed supporting teachers as a math coach and teacher leader before moving into my assistant principal role, which ultimately led me into pursuing administration. I knew I had the skill set to positively influence others.

How did you manage working at two different schools?

I had to be highly organized to know what was going on when I wasn’t physically able to be there. I also built relationships with the principals of each school and met with them frequently to offer the support they needed.

Do you have any advice on building collaboration in
the workplace?

It is important for everyone to feel that they have a voice and will be valued for their input. This means we need to set norms and expectations for that to occur, and that people need to feel trust from their team and administrators so they are willing to take risks.

What is the best “leadership moment” you’ve had since becoming an AP?

One was when a teacher told me that she truly appreciated the time I took to reflect with her on a lesson; she told me she was inspired by our discussion. She felt I always had her back, and I collaborated with her on the best practices she wanted to try right away.

What do you like to do in your off hours?

I like to walk my dog, cook with my 19- and 16-year-old boys, and travel with my husband. We recently went to Jamaica to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, then took a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, to enjoy some country music for my 50th birthday. I love meeting new people and learning about their lives and what motivates them.

What was the best book you read this year?

The Assistant Principal 50 by Baruti Kafele. It is all about self-reflection—[realizing] what I can do every day to make a difference in my school. I’m currently reading his newest book, The Equity and Social Justice Education 50.

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